Should you take English classes to get rid of your accent?
Posted on April 20, 2021
It’s common to focus on vocabulary and grammar when speaking English, and let your accent take third place. However, if you don’t pay enough attention to your accent, people will judge your English as worse than it really is. What a waste of all the vocabulary and grammar that you know! The best thing to do is to take English classes to get rid of your accent, and your teacher will help you to follow the tips in this blog post.
Why taking English classes to get rid of your accent is important
English has a lot of words which are differentiated only by one sound such as:
The th/s consonant in thought/ sort
The vowels in beat/bit and in purse/pass
This means that we can easily misunderstand someone who isn’t pronouncing the words correctly. So it’s vital that you make the difference between them clear.
Slow down your speech
We know you want to speak fast and fluently. But if people frequently ask you to repeat yourself it may be worth slowing down and making sure you’re pronouncing all the sounds correctly.
REALLY listen to native speakers
English spelling is full of tricks and it’s important to make sure you’re not being fooled. Here’s little test. How do you pronounce “walk“? How about “receipt“? Check your pronunciation by clicking the links.
How many times have you heard a native speaker pronounce the “l” in “walk” or the “p” in “receipt“? Never!
Likewise, how many “t”s should there be in the phrase “accent softening“? Just one, in the word “accent“, but the “t” isn’t pronounced in the word “softening“.
Learn the International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA, is a great way to remember the pronunciation of words as well as the spelling. When you come across a new word with an irregular pronunciation, try to link it with other words in the same spelling family. This is a trick used by good spellers and people who have successfully got rid of their non-native accent in English.
Consider the word “flood“. The vowel isn’t the typical “oo” sound of “boot”. It’s the same vowel sound as “blood“.
Find out how sounds are pronounced differently in English
Your language almost certainly has the sounds “t” and “d”. But are they pronounced like in English? “T” and “d” in English aren’t pronounced against the teeth like they are in Spanish or French. In English they should be pronounced slightly further back in the mouth so that your tongue doesn’t touch your teeth. Your English teacher will be able to advise you how to change your pronunciation to help you get rid of your accent.
Not only learn these new sounds but also train so that you remember them
It won’t be enough just to read about how sounds in English are different to those in your language, you need to train regularly, ideally with an English teacher correcting you. Without feedback from a teacher you risk believing you’re pronouncing sounds correctly when you’re not.
Pay special attention to weak vowels in English
The weak vowel sound “schwa” is the most common vowel sound in English and you may have to train hard in order to pronounce it right if there is no schwa in your native language. The schwa is the first vowel in “above” and the middle vowel in “family”. As usual in English, the spelling doesn’t help you much!
A typical mistake of people learning English is to pronounce all the vowels as they are spelled, but native English speakers weaken a lot of vowels to give emphasis to some syllables over others. Weak vowels are very important in English so that you can speak with a more native accent. When you hear a new word, note down the pronunciation including weak vowels.
Sign up for English classes to get rid of your accent
So there you have it, our top tips to get rid of your accent and sound more like a native English speaker. Get in touch today for English classes to get rid of your accent. Your first class is free so you have nothing to lose by trying us out.